Last updated July 1, 2020
Are you tired of always removing your router from the router table each time you have to change a bit? You need to get yourself a router lift! With a router lift, you can make minor adjustments on the go without removing the router or reaching out to under the table.
A router lift is an extra router-plate designed to fit into the router. The lift comes with a grip-like carriage fixed onto the router. The detachable crank handles on the router the fits into the plate. The lift aids you get accurate readings while routing.
Thus, a router lift offers you versatile ways of using your router. You can seamlessly alter the height of your bits with better precision. With this advantage, you can now effectively route any material with more speed and less effort.
How do you pick out the best router lift for your routing tasks? We are here to help you! We tested dozens of routers and picked out the top five router lifts in the market. In this informative review, you will get learn all you need to know about these products to help you make the right decision when you invest in a router lift.
|Product Name||Dimensions |
|JessEm Rout-R-Lift II|
|JessEm Mast-R-Lift II 02120||13.7 |
|INCRA Mast-R-Lift-II Router Lift||12 |
|Rockler Router Lift FX||8-1/4"|
|Kreg PRS5000 Router Lift||13.5 |
|JessEm Mast-R-Lift II 02121||9.1 |
|SawStop RT||9.2 |
JessEm Rout-R-Lift II Router Lift for 3-1/2″ Diameter Motors – Best Entry-Level Router Lift
JessEm so far has been consistent with their router lift and this product is evidence of how they consider all levels artisans. If you are fresh into using a router table and want to get your way around the equipment before you bore like a pro, then you should consider getting this piece.
First, this router lift wouldn’t burn your purse when you get one. It’s perfect for those who are still experimenting with a router and not looking to make a long term commitment.
For its price, the JessEm Rout-R-Lift II Router Lift comes with so many amazing features you would find in professional router lifts. It’s made from quality parts which can also rival high-end router lifts. The durability is top-notch as the lift is from robust materials.
However, you should note that the JessEm Rout-R-Lift II Router Lift is only compactable with few routers. It is not a versatile router lift, so do not expect it to work with your router unless specified.Also, the router lift may go easy on your purse, but there is an extra purchase that would push the entire cost to the high side. Additional parts like rings and side brackets will surely set you back a few dollars. But if you don’t mind, the router lift is a fantastic start. You can upgrade to other sophisticated router lifts when you are buoyant enough.
The JessEm Mast-R-Lift II Router Lift is an entry-level router-lift designed for routers looking to own a lift without breaking the bank. It’s no brainer when you find all the fantastic features in a professional router-lift on this product. JessEm made a ground-breaking statement with this product.
First, this router lift comes with a utility cam lock system that locks the lift firmly on the table when you turn the wrench. The sealed bearings also ensure you can easily adjust the height without moving under the table. The sealed bearing protects the lift against dust/work debris, increasing the lifespan of the machine.
The router-lift is made of anodized aluminum. Hence, it’s a lightweight feature that makes it to carry around. The lift is compactable with the most router table and has a fantastic lifespan.The only draw-back on this one is the absence of a dial indicator for height adjustments and zeroing. Also, the aluminum material is not ferrous and lacks magnetic properties that would render a magnetic outboard mount dial almost useless.
Thus, professional artisans looking for cutting-edge route-lifters would have a hard time using this lift. ‘It’s best for handlers who ‘don’t always use a wood router but needs to have a handy one.
|7518, 690, 890||1617, 1618||DW610, DW616, DW618||5626, 5615, 5616, 5619||17543, 17540, 28190||R29302||RF1101||M12VC, KM12VC|
- Compact-size design that ‘doesn’t take up a lot of space on your router table
- Designed for swift and easy assembly, you ‘wouldn’t have to spend hours trying to fix the route lift together
- Comes with a pack of leveling screws and a machine for easy assembly
- Works with a superior lock/unlock system. The system works using a one-way lock/unlock mechanism placed on a handy spot on the router lift
INCRA Mast-R-Lift-II Router Lift (Cap Screws And Hex Bolts) — Advanced Router Lift
When we talk about the INCRA Mast-R-Lift-II Router Lift, we focus mainly on the features which make it stand out from other router lifts and that is quality. Users are always positive about this router lift because it is a product that won’t die off easily. They tend to use it for a more extended period of time. However, this quality comes with a cost as the INCRA Mast-R-Lift-II Router Lift is quite expensive, one of the most expensive on this list. You would think that the price tag is because the INCRA Mast-R-Lift-II Router Lift will be compatible with almost all sizes, brands and types but that is not the case. In fact, it is a very limited incompatibility. That is why it is down on the list.
The INCRA Mast-R-Lift-II Router Lift is an amazing router lift but it doesn’t work with popular router tables such as Kreg-brand unless users purchase a conversion kit which would cost more coupled with the fact that the INCRA Mast-R-Lift-II Router Lift is pricey. If the INCRA Mast-R-Lift-II Router Lift is that expensive, wouldn’t you like to fix it on your router table comfortably? If you acquire an Incra router table and a router that can fit into the lift, getting this product is recommended but for some people, especially if they are on a budget, it is a very bad choice.
The INCRA Mast-R-Lift-II Router Lift makes possible minute height adjustment which in turn delivers great control and accuracy to the user. It also has an auto-protect feature and it is also a bit portable. The cam lock feature intuitively locks the router table at one spot when you turn it to the right.
|Porter-Cable||JessEm PowRTek Router||Bosch||Milwaukee||Portamate||MLCS|
|7518, 690-699, 890-899||05200||1617EVS, 1618, GMF1400||5625, 5615, 5616, 5619||P-254||9564|
|DW610 & DW618||RF1101 & RD1101||M12VC & KM12VC||17543, 17540, 28190||R29302||Mk II 230V|
INCRA Mast-R-Lift-II Router Lift (Designed for Rockler Tables) – Best for rockler tables
First on our list is the multi-functional INCRA Mast-R-Lift-II Router Lift designed for professional routing tasks. The product offers optimum versatility and high level of accuracy for height adjustments on the router. One of the distinct advantages of this router is that you can adjust heights and even change out your router bits above the table.The INCRA Mast-R-Lift-II Router Lift has a five-ball bearing system that provides users total control of the router. The lift is lightweight, thus do not add extra weight to the router table. It has a long-lasting protection guarantee as it comes with an auto-protection against dust and other particles that could ruin the lift.
However, before you invest on the INCRA Mast-R-Lift-II Router Lift, be sure it fits into your router table. This is the R-version and not the regular version, and ‘it’s only for Rockler tables. If you ‘don’t own a rockler table then you should be sure it fits on your table before you make a purchase.
|7518, 690-699, 890-899||1617|
|DW610, DW618||5625, 5615, 5616, 5619||17543, 17540, 28190||R29302||RF1101, RD1101||M12VC, KM12VC|
- The INCRA Mast-R-Lift-II Router Lift weighs just 14.2Ibs, making it easier to mount on your router table and also portable
- The router-lift comes with a five sealed ball bearing system that makes it easy for users to adjust the height for greater precision and handling
- A self auto-protect feature that ensures durability
- Accurate thread tensioning system for better height adjustments
- Eliminates friction and vibrations on the router table using the five reducing rings made from steel to flush the lift on the router table and fit perfectly with your router
- Eliminates wobble or shaky table using the cam lock system; once you turn the cam lock to the right, the router lift locks the table instinctively
Rockler Router Lift FX — Best router lift for the money
When you need to change your router table or your bench dog table and you don’t want to spend too much while you are doing it, consider getting the Router Lift FX. The Router Lift FX is an incredible tool that can assist you in trimming or cutting down your wooden project with precision and accuracy. However, it is important to know that this project can handle only minimal to average projects, professional and more serious workers may not get the optimal satisfaction they require while using this product.
While professionals and serious users find this product from minimal to an average level, new users, enthusiasts, and hobbyists will definitely enjoy this product because it is very affordable and each of the products comes with a DeWalt that never shakes. Most users even prefer this product because this product fits a variety of tables. It can accept different types of medium to small-sized routers such as Porter-cable, bosch, Dewalt, etc die to the nice lifting housing installed in this product.
|690/890||1617-16-18||610, 616, 618|
Kreg PRS5000 Precision Router Lift — Router Lift for Kreg Table
The Kreg precision router lift is a distinct lift for professionals who ‘aren’t ready to sacrifice height adjustments and accuracy on the altar of price. It offers superior precision and height adjustments for all kinds of heavy-duty routing.
The PRS5000 is an upgrade of the PRS3000; with Kreg paying more attention to accuracy and precision. With the new PRS5000, you no longer have to reach under your router table to change out your bits or make height adjustments. The route lift features further improvement on the control of both small and large adjustments compared to the previous version.
The router lift will make a good fit for users looking to upgrade their lift or get a new routing table. If you are also looking at getting a custom router table, you should make sure this route lift fits perfectly without reeling the crank gauge.
All in all, the product offers excellent precision for its standards. ‘It’s not bulky too and ‘wouldn’t take up all the space on an average routing table.
- Made from high-quality aluminum plates for optimum durability
- Spring-assisted lift system for easy and comfortable heights adjustments. You can easily adjust the height of your bits even when there is a material on the plates.
- Lightweight system for easy carriage
- Vibration elimination system
- Cam lock mechanism that holds the lift in place.
- Features an in-built micro-adjust scaling system
- Auto-leveling system for enhanced precision
- Comes with a set of twist lock insert rings for better control and accuracy
JessEm Mast-R-Lift II 02121 Router Lift, 8-1/4-Inch by 11-3/4-Inch– Best Heavy-Duty Router Lift
If you are into craft equipment from JessEm then you should check out the Mast-R-Lift. This model features a smaller 8-1/4-Inch by the 11-3/4-Inch top plate with a reliable two sealed ball bearings. The model is perfect for heavy-duty routers as it offers seamless rotation and control.
Thus, if you are a heavy user looking for something out of the ordinary, then this model will be an appropriate match. The router offers more accuracy and precision.
What’s more? ‘It’s very durable. You can move it around your workshop with ease. This model works best for professionals or casual users looking for a high-end router lift.
|7518, 690, 890||1617, 1618||DW610, DW616, DW618||5626, 5615, 5616, 5619||17543, 17540, 28190||R29302||RF1101||M12VC, KM12VC|
- The in-built locking system, this model comes with an in-built locking system that works above the router table. With the handle for raising and lowering your lift, you can turn to the right to lock the router in place and work for long hours.
- Features a simple adjustable clamp locking mechanism that works best with routers of 8-1/4-inch by the 11-3/4-inch base
- The top plate of this router lift is made of hard-anodized aluminum. This material is specially designed and engineered with high-resistant elements to ensure it ‘doesn’t wear off with rigorous usage.
- Hydraulic aided light shafts for swift height adjustments. The load of the router distributes equally between the shaft mount and the top plate. Thus, the router lift can withstand long hours of robust routing operations.
- Height adjustments and bit changes occur above the table eliminating bench wrenches
SawStop RT-LFT Four-Post Router Lift with Lock — Choice for Professionals
The SawStop RT-LFT Four-Post Router Lift with Lock is the last on this list and I can say that this product has an exclusive lifting system that comes with its own complete accessories. The adjustment mechanism is very sharp and responsive and all thanks to the built-in chain-synchronized design. With special level screws and the plate thickness, the SawStop RT-LFT Four-Post Router Lift with Lock can function with most router tables models without any problem. However, the Triton TRA001 doesn’t fit this router lift because of the diameter of the router lift.
For other modes of the router like the Porter Cable 7518, users need to just reduce the collar to adjust the diameter so the router can fit perfectly. Commonly, the SawStop RT-LFT Four-Post Router Lift with Lock features adaptive collars. This can range from about 3.25-3.5” so that makes it perfect to fit a number of routers users can find in the market. It is perfect for elevation measurements and height adjustment processes.
Router Lift Buyer’s Guide
If you are a professional craftsman or a beginner with lots of workshop hours working with a router, you should consider getting a router for the following reasons:
Quality Base Plate
To eliminate vibrations that occurs when you use the router for a long time, the router lift has a heavy base plate. The base plate offers extra stability during long routing sessions.
A router lift relieves you of always bending under your table for you to reach out and adjust the height of your router. Thus, it saves you time and makes it easier for you to use your router. You can do this using the T-wench found on the base plate of your router lift.
The right router lift also comes with a solid mount where you can bolt in your router plates. These mounts are pre-drilled to save you the stress of drilling on your own.
A router lift usually comes with a height adjustment mechanism called the ball bearing system. With this mechanism, you can accurately carry out height adjustments. The ball bearing systems are sealed to increase its lifespan.
Factors to Consider When Buying A Router Lift
Before you set out to buy a router lift, you must thoughtfully consider the following factors:
The first factor you must thoughtfully consider if you are about to make a long-term commitment on a router lift is the material used in its construction.
Router lifts made from plastics or cheap alloys will break even when using for long routing session. You should look out for router lift made from cast-iron or quality aluminum. The best router lifts for professionals are from steel.
Compatibility with Your Router
Another factor you should verify before you buy a router lift is ‘it’s compatibility with your router. You should check out the specifications and accessories of your router to see the best router lift that would suit it.
When you make the wrong investment and get a lift ‘that’s incompatible with your router, you would experience inconsistencies like vibrations when routing.
The ball bearing system is responsible for the precise and stress-free height router height adjustments. You should go for a router lift with this system so you will enjoy smooth height adjustments while routing.
Every router lift has a specific plunge size. The plunge is the moveable part of your router fixed unto the router lift. Before you get a router lift, you must be sure the plunge will fit into the lift. Check the technical components of the router carefully.
Height Adjustment System
The two standard height adjustments mechanism on a router lift are the crank handle and the thumbwheel. Before you get a router lift with any of these features, you should check your preference and figure out the one that works best for you.
The Right Adapters
If you have more than one router or may have to change your router at the course of your work, then you should invest in a router lift with multiple insert holes and adapters. Thus, you will avoid buying a new router lift when you change your router.
The Locking System
The locking mechanism of your router lift should be top-notch if you wish to enjoy precise and accurate routing sessions. Look out for router lifts that work with a bolting system or lever locking system.
Can I use my old Router and Router Table?
When it comes to fixed-based routers, the answer might be yes. Router lifts eliminate most of the problems router table users experience on a daily basis. One exception though is the Milwaukee 5625-29 which at this time of writing, only the Rockler and the JessEm router lift can fit this router and also offer over-the-table bit changes. If you use a plunge router, on the other hand, you are limited to just two types of lift which is the woodpecker Unilift and the Jet/Powermatic EXACTA-lift. Your old router tables can be used also but users have to consider two things;
Professionals also advise that users should use add a cross bracing under the router table if they want to make use of a router lift. Roger’s lifts are known to be heavy products weighing up to 20 pounds. If you use routers that are 3-hp or higher, you are sure to have a saggy result over time if you don’t use any cross-bracing or support.
Tips on How to Maintain your Router Lift
Proper maintenance begins from using or purchasing the right router table for your lift or buying the necessary lift components. A woodwork routing system for projects must fit the router lift or at least be compatible with with it. Before you make any purchase on any router lift product, check the manual, specification or dimensions of the the product and make sure it fits and it is strong enough to carry put any task thrown at it.
With a minimum power of about 3.5HP, you can make any woodworking adjustment and cuts with a simple lift product. To increase stability while you are using for router lift, consider the sizes of the mounting plate and make sure it fits perfectly to the router table. There are two types of plates, the one with dimensions of about 9.25 x 11.75 inches and the later with dimensions of about 8.25 x 11.75 inches.
Always buy router lifts which has a saw dust collection system that are compatible with vacuum hoses. The reason being that you have to prevent the wood chips from getting into the adjustment tool so the router lift system can last long, longer than you can use. Users are also required to check and clean the affected area and parts of the router lifts before every use.
It is also important to clean your bits too. Router bits are just like saw blades and wood chips and dust can stop it from functioning properly. To make sure you get a clean cut, consider to root the end of the grains of the wood project you are working on before their edges.
Benefits of Using a Router Lift
Using a Router lift has its own benefits and any woodworking professional or enthusiast must have one. It helps to increase accuracy and precision which makes your finished products have a professional touch. Below are some of the benefits of using a Router lift in your woodworking project:
- All professional woodworkers and enthusiast need stability during their time on the project. Router lifts features the component called rugged base plate which is needed during the routing process for increased stability. If the materials of your router lift are rugged, you are assured as a user to experience very low vibration as well as low noise. Also, to achieve this, the insert plates going on the router table should be very stable for a clean and professional cut.
- Standard mounts found on a router lift has a lot of benefits that one can’t pass by. One of which is the ability to make sure your router insert plates are firm. These components are known to come with predrilled holes so that users don’t have to stress themselves. You can also ask a handyman to drill another hole that fits perfectly.
- Router lifts are considered as precision tools that provide its users with accurate height adjustments. This responsibility falls greatly on the low-friction ball bearing system. Without this component, your height adjustment system and elevation measurements will be problematic. Also, the micro-adjust scale and the index ring found in the router lift will greatly affect the accuracy when it comes to bit heights.
- What is a router lift without a height adjustment system? Router lifts may come with a crank handle and a thumb wheel mechanism which is responsible for the height adjustment mechanism system. Users really need the router lift to alter and change the height of the bits during the process of routing.
To help you make the right choice when you get a router lift, here are some frequently asked questions about router lifts:
Summing It Up
A router lift is a useful addition to the already existing tools in your workshop. A router lift will save you lots of valuable time and enhance the speed and accuracy of your router. In the educative piece above, you will have a list that fits every budget, requirements, and level of usage.
With the various craft manufacturers trying to outdo themselves, we expect new router lifts with enhanced features and new technologies to hit the market soon. We will definitely keep you posted. Let us know what you think about our list in the comment section below.